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November 20, 2018

Historic St. Croix house considered for demolition

Courtesy / Maine Preservation
Courtesy / Maine Preservation
The National Park Service is considering the historic McGlashan-Nickerson House, at St. Croix Island International Historic Site, for demolition. That possibility put the property on Maine's Preservation's 20th list of Most Endangered Historic Places in Maine,

The National Park Service is seeking comments on a proposal that includes the potential demolition of a historic structure at the St. Croix Island International Historic Site.

According to the service's request for comments, the service has determined that the historic McGlashan-Nickerson House in the village of Red Beach that faces the Maine/Canada border no longer serves any administrative functions for the site and is not related to the park's fundamental resources or values.

"The NPS lacks the resources to stabilize, rehabilitate and maintain the historic structure," according to the park's draft environmental assessment of the structure.

For two years, Maine Preservation has offered and continues to offer to work with the National Park Service in partnership with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to find a new owner for the McGlashan-Nickerson House who will stabilize and rehabilitate the house and agree to manage the six acres of land in a manner compatible with the adjoining visitor center, according to an Oct. 30 Maine Preservation blog post.

"For the National Park Service, as the federal agency responsible for our national parks, monuments and all other properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places as well as for the protection of the historic integrity of these places, to demolish this National-Register listed historic house violates its own mission," the post said.

Built around 1883 as a single-family residence, the McGlashan-Nickerson House is a 5,427 square-foot, two-story wooden frame structure, consisting of a core, ell, and attached 748 square-foot carriage barn. The house has been listed to the National Register of Historic Places as being significant at a local level for its Italianate architecture.

"All NPS uses of the McGlashan-Nickerson House have ceased, and the house has been mothballed with emergency repairs made as limited NPS budget resources allow," the assessment says. "Without extensive stabilization, rehabilitation, and preservation maintenance, the house will continue to deteriorate." Needed repairs are estimated to cost more than $1 million with an additional $40,000 yearly needed to support minimal heating and ongoing maintenance.

Kevin Schneider, superintendent of Acadia National Park, is also superintendent of the St. Croix site.

The service acquired the historic house and just over six acres of land in 2000, and used it for administrative purposes from 2005 until 2014.

The assessment includes a "no action" alternative that would retain the house and continue minimal maintenance by the service as funding allows.

The comment period closes Nov. 30.

Quoddy Tides reported adjacent property known as the Ross House was purchased at the same time, but was not listed on the National Register and in 2010 was demolished to make way for a maintenance building. In 2011, the park reached out to interested stakeholders regarding possible acquisition, the newspaper reported.

In 2013, the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Friends of the McGlashan-Nickerson House expressed interest. Neither worked out.

According to park service information, Saint Croix Island is the 1604 site of the first French attempt to colonize the territory they called l'Acadie and the location of one of the earliest European settlements in North America. Members of a French expedition led by Pierre Dugua, intending to colonize North America, settled the island in 1604.

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site was established as a national monument on June 8, 1949. The site received its current designation on Sept. 25, 1984.

Read more

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